Murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh a devastating blow to freedom of expression

The murder of journalist, Gauri Lankesh, on 6 September is a devastating blow to freedom of expression, PEN International said, as it called for a full and impartial investigation into her killing. "Gauri Lankesh was a tireless campaigner for freedom, justice, human rights, and liberal values, and I had the privilege to have known her. She was courageous and graceful, and stood firm in support of the marginalised and the vulnerable. She fought divisiveness with words; her opponents had bullets. Her killers must be identified and tried according to law. Her work will…Read more

Camerawoman assaulted at Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Freedom Forum is calling on Pacific Islands Forum leaders to address the issue of over-zealous security officers, after a journalist was manhandled at the opening ceremony. "It was upsetting to hear that a colleague, trying to capture Samoa's traditional welcoming of Pacific island leaders, was manhandled by a policeman," says PFF Chair Monica Miller. Local and overseas journalists were edging up to the back corner of a tent, where some delegates were seated, to get out of the rain, when a police officer grabbed the journalist by the arm and tried…Read more

Uganda: Police officers stone journalists covering story on fire

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda Police Officers at Katwe Police Station have today, 24 August 2017, stoned five journalists who were covering staff quarters that had caught fire at the police station. The journalists who were attacked are Nassaka Joweria (Kingdom TV), Ivan Mbadhi (BBS TV), Rachel Mabala (Daily Monitor) Carol Nakibule (Delta TV) and Muhumuza Julius of Dream TV. It is alleged that the fire which started at about 9:30am burnt six units and was a result of one electric coil that was being used for cooking in one of…Read more

“Daily Post” publishers ordered to pay US$180,000 in defamation suit

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) An Accra High Court has ordered the publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GHC 800,000 (US$180,000) to a former Minister of State. The verdict follows an action for defamation brought by Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is currently the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board, against the newspaper and one Mahama Haruna, an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Michael Dokosi was found guilty on July 25, 2017 of defaming the former minister and ordered to…Read more

UK: Poll shows that the press still wins the election debate

A YouGov poll for the London Press Club has shown that traditional news sources of newspapers and television remain more influential among voters than social media. The survey just carried out among 1,600 adults in Britain showed that 23 per cent of people said printed publications helped them choose who to vote for, compared to 18 per cent who believed social media swayed them. The results were revealed at a standing-room only London Press Club and Society of Editors debate at the Reuters building in Canary Wharf. Andrew Rawnsley, political columnist for the…Read more

Australia: Press freedom concerns with proposal to create super “Home Affairs” ministry

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union and industry advocate for Australia's journalists, is deeply concerned by the concentration of surveillance powers in a new super "Home Affairs" ministry without any adequate external oversight. MEAA believes the corralling of several government agencies with poor records for observing and respecting press freedom and transparency into one giant bureaucracy, raises profound concerns. MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy said: "Yesterday's announcement of a super ministry is deeply troubling for press freedom in Australia. Coming on the back of last week's announcement on encryption,…Read more

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency officials assault and briefly detain journalists

Pakistani police should launch a thorough investigation into allegations that Federal Investigation Agency officials assaulted and briefly detained journalists in Islamabad last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. An FIA officer on June 21, 2017 allegedly harassed and detained Channel 24 reporter Saba Bajeer and Dawn News reporter Aitzaz Hassan while they questioned Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq Hijazi, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, at an Islamabad hospital where he was being examined following his arrest on charges of tampering with records, according to news reports. Bajeer told CPJ…Read more

Publications could be shut down under Zambia’s “state of threatened public emergency”

The International Press Institute (IPI) has expressed concern over the imposition of emergency powers in Zambia and recent comments made by the inspector-general of police that some publications could be closed while the 90-day state of emergency was in place. On July 5, 2017 Zambian President Edgar Lungu initiated a "state of threatened public emergency" and indicated that he might declare a full state of emergency if the "existing situation" in the country is "allowed to continue", a procedure set out in the country's Constitution. The move came amid a string of apparent…Read more

Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust Presents The 2017 Astor Award To The Pakistan Press Foundation

The Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust (CPU) has presented the annual Astor Award to the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF). The Astor Award – first made in 1970 – is one of the oldest and most prestigious media awards in the world and is presented to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the Commonwealth newspaper industry and in particular fighting for press and media freedom. Last year’s winner was the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda. Lord Black of Brentwood, Chairman of the CPU Media Trust said: “We…Read more

Kenya seeks to restrict political commentary on social media ahead of elections

Kenyan authorities should ensure that proposed social media guidelines do not prevent journalists from reporting critically or close the space for public debate ahead of general elections due to take place August 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Two government bodies--the Communications Authority, which has regulatory oversight in broadcasting and telecommunications, and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, which promotes national unity--are reviewing the results of a public consultation on draft guidelines that they proposed to prevent the spread of inflammatory content and hate speech on messaging and social media platforms.…Read more